From bottled water, time to go back to the tap

BY ELIZABETH KRUSE

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Have you noticed the water dispenser sitting by the candy at the Hark Café? Are you one of the people toting your own reusable water bottle or mug to class? Many HLS students have given up bottled water in favor of free water from a tap or dispenser. Bottled water no longer has the same appeal when convenient, tasty water is so readily available for free.

People have numerous reasons for forgoing Dasani, Aquafina, and the countless other brands of bottled H2O. Topping the list, bottled water is expensive. At over a dollar a bottle, multiplied by the three daily bottles needed to reach 64 ounces of water a day, bottled water costs around $1000 a year. Bottled water not only burns precious funds, but negatively affects the environment as well. Shipping bottled water emits tons of CO2 because water is an especially heavy commodity.

Tap water comes from local sources, having a much lower carbon footprint. For example, Cambridge’s water supply comes from reservoirs in the nearby towns of Lexington, Lincoln, Waltham and Weston.In addition, using your own reusable glass means there is no plastic bottle to dispose. Even recycling plastic bottles uses more energy and resources than simply washing your own reusable container.

Those who decrease their bottled water consumption like the taste of tap or filtered water. The Graduate Green Living Program held a water taste test on Monday to see if HLS students can identify different brands of bottle water and tap water by taste. Surprisingly (or not), very few students can tell which water is from which source. Also, tap filters, like Brita or Pur, can improve the taste of tap water if desired. Many people find they even like the taste of filtered tap water better than bottled water.

On top of all these reasons to forgo bottled water, HLS administration has made it even easier to drink tap water on campus. Filtered water dispensers are now available on campus in places convenient for students, like in Harkness Commons, Austin Hall, and in the HLS residence hall kitchens. Reusable containers to fill up at the dispensers are effortlessly obtained if you keep your eyes peeled. Many organizations and companies give away reusable bottles for free. Even HLS gave away free drink containers to all students last fall.

“I think tap water does taste the same, and there are a bunch of water dispensers on campus,” said Matthew Simmons ’09, “There is no need for me to buy water.” On campus, it is easy and convenient to drink high-quality water, without purchasing it by the bottle.

Elizabeth Kruse is a 3L and a member of the HLS Green Living Program

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